Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to bring people to your website. Quality content improves organic search performance and strengthens audience engagement. However, content alone isn’t enough to support your brand. If people can’t find your content, it won’t do any good. The organization is key to getting the most out of your written work.
Content hubs are crucial to organizing important pieces of content. A good content hub makes it easy for people to find the information they need from your site. In this guide, you’ll learn what content hubs are, their benefits, and the different types of content hubs you can use to increase organic traffic on important blog posts.
What Is a Content Hub?
A content hub is the center of your content marketing strategy. It almost acts as a table of contents. Every article, guide, white paper, and ebook you post can be stored on your content hub. It’s a cross between an archive of your content and a curated display of your most valuable posts.
The goal of a content hub is to act as a centralized access point for all of your information, divided by topic. People who visit your hub should have a straightforward and easy-to-navigate way to learn about every topic your business covers. They can use the hub to explore every detail about a specific topic or branch out into other topic clusters to learn more. This organized presentation not only makes it easy for people to explore your site but also offers unique technical benefits.
The Benefits of Content Hubs
Content hubs aren’t just a way to neatly store all of your posts in one place. When you’ve built a great one, you’ll improve your entire content strategy. Here’s how implementing a content hub can help improve your business’s online presence and reputation.
One of the biggest benefits of a content hub is how it links central topics together on your site in a way search engines value. Google prioritizes sites with lots of relevant internal links, and these are all about interlinking related articles. The links can drastically improve the organic search ranking for relevant keywords. Implementing a content hub improves your search engine optimization (SEO), which leads to greater search traffic potential.
A content hub makes it easy for people to explore all the information you have to offer. This is an excellent way to improve engagement metrics. The hub allows people to take a deep dive into a topic and learn about it as much as they'd like. As a result, people spend more time on your site engaging with your content and potentially converting into customers. As a result, audience engagement increases
A good content hub neatly displays all the authoritative content you offer on a subject. When you develop a robust one, you build authority within your industry by showing all of the resources you’ve created. Furthermore, a well-designed content hub lets you brand your content, so you have complete control over your information’s presentation.
By keeping every piece of content in one place, you have the opportunity to compare apples to apples when tracking content engagement and conversion rates. Since everything is hosted in the same place and format, you can easily collect and track how your target audience engages with your content. This data collection can help you make informed decisions about future content development.
The 5 Different Types of Content Hubs
A content hub is much more than just a blog. It organizes posts based on topic categories, not just chronological order. However, there are multiple methods that you can use, each with its benefits and best use cases. Here are the five basic content hub types and examples of when they work best.
Hub and Spoke
The most basic kind is the hub and spoke. This organizational style is the source of the term “hub.” Think of it like a bicycle wheel — there’s a central hub with spokes radiating from the center.
In the hub and spoke structure, you develop five to ten central “pillar pages." Each page should be dedicated to a broad topic related to your business. These act as hubs for those topics. They should comprehensively cover evergreen content but not go into too much detail. These pages should target short keywords for SEO since the length of the page should help boost it higher in the SERPs.
Meanwhile, you’ll develop dozens of “spoke” pages that go into depth about topics on the hub pages. Spoke pages are typically shorter and more focused on a specific, more narrow topic. They also target long-tail keywords that are more specific and have less search volume. The goal is to capture as much of that long-tail keyword’s traffic as possible and guide it back to the hub.
Hub and spoke frameworks are best for stable sites and industries. While minor updates to pillar pages are great from an SEO perspective, you don’t want to update your entire hub and spoke system every month. Examples of industries that benefit from the hub and spoke model are finance, law, retail, and manufacturing.
Example of Hub and Spoke Organization
One of the best hub and spoke content hub examples is on Dave Ramsey’s website, Ramsey Solutions. The Tools and Resources page includes three featured calculators. Each of the pages offers a simple explanation of how to use its calculator and a comprehensive set of FAQs related to the topic of the calculator, which in turn link to other, more long-form content. Spoke pages are interlinked to other spoke pages for the same hub, improving the site’s overall SEO.
A topic gateway is a little different from a hub and spoke page. In the hub and spoke model, the pillar pages contain a useful long-form overview of a subject. Topic gateways are more like content directories. The page offers a summary of the topic, some critical facts about it, a list of curated posts that cover subjects in more detail, and a feed of the most recent posts.
Topic gateways are excellent for sites that see frequent updates. If you cover breaking news and press releases, a topic hub can keep your most recent content on the page while still linking to evergreen content explaining the subject. Sites that cover news or fashion or that simply have a huge amount of content can benefit from the topic gateway structure.
Example of a Topic Gateway Hub
Nerdwallet uses topic gateway hubs for many subjects. Its mortgages gateway is especially useful. The summary at the top gives an excellent overview of the issue at hand. Below, it offers quick links to the most popular resources on that core topic, followed by individual articles and then the current most visited posts. Visitors can quickly access information about any aspect of mortgages all in one place, making the page a convenient central destination for anyone looking for information about home loans.
A content library structure is a great way to give your readers access to many topics all in one place. It includes brief gateways to multiple topics all on the same page. The latest posts are displayed at the top of the page, followed by headings for each subject with recent posts underneath.
Content libraries are some of the most dynamic content hubs. You can choose to pin one or two evergreen posts in each category, but the rest should update based on popularity or publication date.
Some of the best content hub examples for the content library approach are found on blogs. Blogs often cover many wide-ranging topics and update frequently. As a result, many active visitors probably only care about posts on specific subjects. The content library structure makes it easy to present something from each topic right away, keeping every visitor engaged.
Example of the Content Library Structure
The Everygirl blog has implemented the content library structure effectively. The homepage opens with a list of the four most recent posts, followed by the most popular and trending posts. Afterward, it includes a widget listing posts “Popular in:” and allows the reader to select different topics.
As a result, site visitors can see recent posts, popular posts, and posts about topics they care about all without leaving the front page. This encourages more people to stay on the site by presenting them with content they care about immediately.
The topic matric method is a behind-the-scenes type of content hub. Instead of offering a specific central page, it uses a highly consistent collection of subpages. For every topic, there will be subpages that follow a regular naming system. When people visit any individual topic page, they will find the same subjects answered for that topic.
For instance, a home repair site could divide itself by project, then by room, then by difficulty level. Meanwhile, a programming site could have pages built by language, use case, and integrations needed. Whether someone visits the page for Java or C++, they’ll be able to find subpages for different use cases, and the use case pages will link to specific articles covering projects done with particular integrations.
A great part of the topic matrix is that you can apply this method to other content hubs. If your topics lend themselves to regular subdivisions, you can apply topic matric naming conventions to spoke and hub and topic gateway systems, too.
This system works best for sites that cover many similar subjects. Medical sites, home design and repair sites, and cooking sites often use the topic matrix.
Example of Topic Matrix Organization
Zillow is one of the most well-known examples of a topic matrix organization. It divides its site based on cities, then by neighborhood, then by the type of home the person is looking for. For instance, you can look for homes for sale by owners in Chicago and San Francisco, and the URLs will be structured the same way. The Chicago URL ends “/chicago-il/fsbo/” and the San Francisco URL ends “/san-francisco-ca/fsbo/.” This helps keep the site consistent and ensures that people can find the information they need no matter what topic (city) they care about.
A content database is halfway between a content library and a topic gateway. A database hub is built to let users discover resources based on their specific requirements. Like other database types, these hubs have built-in filters that visitors can use to narrow down the resources the page presents.
Content databases take a lot of technical backend work. Every single resource in your content hub needs to be labeled with appropriate filterable tags. You’ll also need to build a reliable filter system that first brings up the most relevant or popular posts.
Still, if you have a lot of content or your userbase likes to do its own research, a content database can be a great hub. This format works best for sites with a large amount of content in various forms, such as blogs, ebooks, guides, and white papers. The ability to filter based on the content type and subject will make your hub easier to navigate.
Example of Content Database Hub
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has implanted a user-friendly, robust content database as its hub for dog breed information. It lets visitors filter the list of breeds based on many characteristics — from name and first letter to trainability. The hub makes it easy for potential dog owners to find the perfect breed for them while still acting as a central page for every dog breed page on the site.
Build Your Content Hub and Reap the Benefits
No matter what industry you’re in or how often you publish, a content hub is an excellent tool to improve your organization and keep visitors engaged. That’s true regardless of whether you choose the basic hub and spoke option or you try something more unique like a topic gateway or matrix. There's no one right method for how to create a content hub. As long as it clearly presents your content organized by topic, it works. You can even mix and match elements of the hub types listed here to get a structure that works for your business.
A good content hub will give structure to your posts, improve your SEO, and help you build authority in your field. Take advantage of these benefits to help reach your content marketing goals today.